Sample policy language for aging practitioners
June 6, 2018
Today, to help medical staff leaders and committees manage the challenges that sometimes emerge as practitioners age, many organizations have developed policies and procedures that include methods for proactively answering questions of competency for late-practice physicians. These policies must take into account federal law, which prohibits discrimination against a person solely on the basis of age. Violation of this principle could lead to claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and unwanted legal proceedings.
Find out what policies and procedures your organization has in place regarding this matter. If there is no policy, then address this issue sooner rather than later. Population trends show that your hospital will encounter this issue in one form or another if it hasn’t already. If a policy for late-practice clinicians is already on the books, revisit it regularly to make sure that it reflects current research as well as your medical staff membership.
The key is to create or revise an inclusive policy that spells out how your organization assesses aging physicians’ abilities once they reach a certain age. For example, many facilities require physical and mental assessments when a practitioner seeks to renew privileges at age 70 or older. It’s important to include language that the same assessments are to be requested for practitioners of any age, if the credentials committee finds that there’s a cause for assessment. This policy language can go a long way toward making the work of the credentials committee tolerable. This free resource features sample language that such a policy can include.